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A milestone day for State Pension equality

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Today is an important one for State Pension equality.  For the first time since 1940 both men and women have identical State Pension ages as the State Pension age rises to 65 for women. In 1940 pension age for women was cut to 60 (from 65) as, on average men married women five years’ younger than them and, the aim was to ensure that wives’ State Pension would come into payment as their husbands reached 65.

Back in 1995 the then Conservative government, under pressure from Europe, announced plans to equalise State Pension ages for men and women. The first women affected by this change were born between 6 April 1950 and 5 May 1950 and had to wait until 6 May 2010 to receive their State Pension, a delay of one month. The raising of the State Pension age for women has been controversial.  We are of course all living longer on average than previous generations and the government case is that for the State Pension to be sustainable, State Pension age needs to not only be equalised but in due course raised to 66, 67 and eventually 68 for both sexes.

The contrary argument made by the campaign group Women Against State Pension Age Inequality (WASPI) is that many women born in the 1950s, and told by the State they would receive their State Pension at 60, are particularly badly hit by the rise in State Pension age and should be compensated.

It is perhaps ironic that the changes forced upon a Conservative government by Europe have resulted in equality at the very moment a different Conservative government struggles with Brexit.

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